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Culture Ministry setting up an online vendor

THE CULTURE Ministry has budgeted Sk22 million (€680,000), excluding VAT, for the design of a new website that will sell tickets to artistic events at state institutions, the Sme daily wrote. It hopes to have the site up and running as early as this year.

THE CULTURE Ministry has budgeted Sk22 million (€680,000), excluding VAT, for the design of a new website that will sell tickets to artistic events at state institutions, the Sme daily wrote. It hopes to have the site up and running as early as this year.

The ministry published a preliminary notification in the public procurement bulletin at the beginning of February. However, neither the Slovak National Gallery (SNG) nor the Slovak National Theatre (SND) has heard anything about it recently.

"We haven't been contacted about the newest developments," Katarína Bajcurová, head of the SNG, told the daily. "It was mentioned, but we haven't heard anything directly," said Peter Himič of the State Theatre in Košice. "I believe we will be invited to sit down at the negotiations," said František Javorský, head of the Nová Scéna Theatre.

The SND, Slovak Philharmonic and Nová Scéna already use the Ticketportal.sk and Eventim.sk websites to sell tickets. Visitors to the SND can even print tickets at home. But galleries have not expressed a need for an internet-based booking system so far.

The plan for now does not allow for private or local government institutions to include their events on the website, but Soňa Čermáková-Uličná from the Culture Ministry's press department said they could be included during the second phase.

However, most private organisations already sell their tickets through other online vendors, which charge an 8 to 10 percent commission.

The Culture Ministry was unclear about whether it is looking to earn a profit from the website.

"We can say that other institutions being included in a system will only help people be better informed," Čermáková-Uličná said.

In an ironic twist, the project is part of the ministry's preparation for euro adoption, yet launching the website by the end of the year may be too soon to make it euro compatible. Both Ticketportal.sk and Eventim.sk already accept payments made in euros.

Meanwhile, some people are still debating the cost of the website.

At first glance, Martin Krupa from the ui42 company considers Sk22 million too high for developing a single website.

"What exactly the assignment entails will be crucial," he said.

And Ján Jenča from the Monogram company thinks that a private company would develop the system much more economically.

"A private company would need much less money to do it," he said. "Public officials have inflated it."

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